The Oxford English Dictionary has the following definitions of “war”: (1) A state of armed conflict between various countries or distinct factions within a country; (2) A condition of rivalry or enmity between different persons or groups; or (3) A persistent campaign against a bad situation or activity. Many things may spark hostilities between countries, or more often, inside a single country.
Economic gain, geographical expansion, religion, nationalism, civil strife, and political upheaval are all examples. Leaders of nations often serve as the driving forces behind wars when they start territorial disputes, vie for control of another nation’s natural resources, or impose harsh forms of authoritarian rule. In the event of protracted warfare, a country’s infrastructure, economy, and other services may be destroyed to the point that they cannot be restored without decades of work.
Not all conflicts include formal declarations of war by the opposing sides. On the other side, not all instances of military confrontation are considered wars. According to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, “a state-based conflict or dyad which exceeds at least 1000 battle-related fatalities in a given calendar year” qualifies as a war. Total fatalities include those slain in active conflict and those murdered in targeted civilian assaults (for example, by bombings or other attacks).
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The Russian-Ukrainian War of 2022
Invading Ukraine militarily on February 24, 2022, Russia ratcheted tensions rising since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. On February 21, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised the separatist Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. On February 24, 2022, he dispatched soldiers into Ukraine on a “peacekeeping” mission that quickly became a full-scale invasion.
Military action in the Russo-Ukranian war
The strikes began with a barrage of missiles, and then soldiers and armoured vehicles invaded Ukraine from Russia and Belarus, ostensibly with Kyiv as their goal. On February 24, 2022, Russian soldiers successfully seized control of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. On February 25, 2022, Russian troops captured an airbase close to Kyiv and were widely predicted to seize the Ukrainian capital within the next few days.
Those assumptions, however, were wrong. In response to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call to arms, the Ukrainian people fought back with incredible enthusiasm and success. As the earth thawed, it became muddy and swampy, making it difficult for tanks and other large armoured vehicles to move about. Russia also had trouble keeping supply lines working properly, which is especially problematic given that, according to some sources, Russian ground soldiers invaded Ukraine with just a three-day supply of petroleum.
In the face of fuel exhaustion, several Russian tanks were left behind. It was also reported that several Russian troops had surrendered rather than shot Ukrainians, whom they saw as fellow compatriots (because Ukraine is the former Soviet Republic). These issues combined to slow down what was supposed to be a quick takeover by Russia.
Kyiv has not yet fallen as of May 2, 2022. Russia, though, had ramped up its activity. It allegedly acknowledged using prohibited weapons, including anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs, as well as using weapons like thermobaric rockets and hypersonic missiles, all of which might be deemed war crimes. As well as bombing a hospital and a birthing centre, Russia has started striking other civilian sites (also war crimes).
Despite these intensified tactics and the impending food and water shortages in Ukrainian cities like Kherson, Kharkiv, and Sumy, the Ukrainians seemed to have recaptured part of the area Russia had conquered by March 22, 2022, most notably the city of Makariv to the west of Kyiv. The Ukrainian military made more territorial gains as of May 2, 2022.
More than 5.5 million Ukrainians have left the nation as of May 5, 2022, with the majority going to Poland (where there are more than 3 million refugees). Still, many more go to other European countries, including Hungary, Slovakia, and even Russia, to be closer to relatives. Another 7+ million people are thought to be internally displaced inside the nation.
A UNICEF report from March 25, 2022, shows that half of all Ukrainian children have been uprooted due to the conflict. The United Nations has officially declared the refugee crisis in Ukraine to be “the quickest and greatest displacement of people in Europe since World War II.”
On March 15, 2022, Russian and Ukrainian soldiers fought fiercely in the city of Mariupol in Ukraine. The mayor of Mariupol claimed to news outlets that Russia had dropped over a hundred bombs on the city in a single day to destroy it. Officials from many Ukrainian institutions have also reported that the Russians keep hospital staff and patients captive. About 350,000 to 400,000 Ukrainians are still in Mariupol.
They’re running out of food and water fast since humanitarian assistance has been delayed in entering the city due to, allegedly, blocks placed by Russian troops. It has also been claimed that the Russians, although agreeing to “evacuation routes” designed to provide people with safe exits from besieged towns, have shelled such routes with artillery instead. Russia’s naval troops in the Sea of Azov have joined the land-based artillery bombarding the city. On March 30, 2022, satellite images showed the destruction of whole city blocks by artillery and missiles.
Also, Russia has been accused of violating the Geneva Conventions by transporting captive Ukrainians to Russian territory. It has been alleged that Russian soldiers have hijacked, arrested, and rerouted evacuation buses. As of late March, it was estimated that as many as 40,000 Ukrainians, including many children, had been kidnapped and carried to Russia.
Many people had to decide between travelling to Russia and being slaughtered. On May 2, 2022, it was publicly declared by the Russian government that they had “evacuated” over a million people, including over 200,000 children. It was estimated that 40,000 individuals in Mariupol alone had been deported.
In what seems to be preparation for an amphibious assault, U.S. military authorities, on March 16, 2022, observed increasing Russian naval activity near the seas of the city of Odessa, situated on Ukraine’s southern shore. Odessa is the only major port city in Ukraine still under Ukrainian sovereignty.
More than 600 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles were among the military supplies the United States pledged for Ukraine as part of a USD 800 million package that might help the country fight off Russian bombing attacks. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked for a no-fly zone above the country, the United States and NATO have not yet enacted one.
The word “children” was painted in enormous letters on the parking lot outside the Mariupol theatre, destroyed by Russian troops and where hundreds of Ukrainian civilians had sought refuge. Since the entrance to the theatre was obliterated by debris, nobody knew what had happened to its former occupants.
On March 17, 2022, however, it was reported that some of the 1,200 individuals who had taken refuge had survived and were starting to emerge from the wreckage. By March 18, 2022, 130 individuals had been rescued from the debris, but hundreds more were still missing (it was revealed on March 25, 2022, that an estimated 300 people had died, but some 600 had survived).
Russian soldiers seemed to have done something similar on March 20, 2022, when they attacked an art school utilised as a haven by as many as 400 Ukrainians. Ukraine has refused Russia’s request that they hand up Mariupol by the morning of March 21, 2022, despite suffering devastating strikes on many fronts. Mass graves have been discovered in Mariupol and other cities, and there is growing evidence that Russian soldiers may be killing prisoners of war.
All along, Russian President Vladimir Putin has portrayed Russia as the victim and Ukraine as the aggressor, claiming that Ukraine is hiding nuclear and biological weapons programmes and is home to neo-Nazis (a clear reference to Ukraine’s admittedly ultranationalist Azov battalion) who must be destroyed.
Putin presented no evidence that Ukraine had nuclear or biological weapons. Still, U.S. officials warned of “false flag” operations in which Russian troops would unleash chemical weapons themselves to implicate Ukraine. On or around March 20, 2022, NATO and the United States officials expressed concern that Belarus, which borders Ukraine to the north, would soon enter the conflict on Russia’s side.
On March 18, 2022, Russian missiles attacked Lviv, a city in western Ukraine within 60 kilometres (40 miles) of the Polish border. The prime minister of Poland responded by saying he would propose sending NATO peacekeepers to Ukraine.
Russia has reportedly fired 1,250 missiles into Ukraine by March 25, 2022. These missiles were aimed at cities like Mariupol and Kyiv and high-value targets, including airports and gas stations. According to the Ukrainian government’s announcement, there was a lot of damage done to the Ukrainian Air Force command centre. Despite this, it was projected that Russia was running short on several kinds of missiles. Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv and another fuel store located near Lviv were both hit by Russian missiles on March 27, 2022.
As part of the continuing peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, on March 29, 2022, Russia declared it would “dramatically lessen” its assaults on the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv. U.S. intelligence verified that some Russian soldiers had withdrawn from the Kyiv area. Still, numerous U.S. and Russian officials were eager to explain that this was only a repositioning of Russian forces and not the beginning of a bigger cease-fire.
This warning was spot on, as Russian soldiers regrouped and ramped up their assault on Ukraine’s southeast and east shortly afterwards. The mayor of Chernihiv further said that, contrary to expectations, Russian assaults escalated rather than decreased after the statement was made. Meanwhile, rumours spread that Russian forces were disobeying orders and that Vladimir Putin’s aides were giving him false information about the state of the conflict.
Russian soldiers did pull back from Kyiv and Chernihiv during the next several days. Yet the withdrawal exposed extensive evidence that Russian soldiers had committed major war crimes while occupying Ukrainian territory. There was further worldwide criticism of Russia’s activities with the discovery of mass graves and other evidence that people had been targeted, mistreated, and killed in places like the city of Bucha.
As of April 15, 2022, over 900 civilian deaths have been found in Kyiv neighbourhoods captured by Russian troops. Following these findings, accusations of genocide against Russia have been made by other nations. It has also been claimed that Russian troops have committed rapes on Ukrainian civilians to demoralise the population there.
Russian guided-missile cruiser Moskva went down in the Black Sea on April 14, 2022. Russia blamed an on-board fire that triggered stored munitions, while Ukraine said it had sunk the ship with a missile.
The loss of the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian navy, is blamed for the “increasingly aggressive” war in southern parts of Ukraine, albeit the exact reasons for this are unclear. In addition, President Zelensky and other government officials have repeatedly warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may use chemical or tactical nuclear weapons if the fight continues to favour Ukraine.
The political impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
Many nations and international organisations have roundly criticised Russia’s actions. Even while several nations have given humanitarian help and military equipment to Ukraine, none have sent soldiers to the country to aid in its defence. Russia must end its military activities in Ukraine immediately, the International Court of Justice concluded by a 13-2 majority on March 16, 2022.
Since the Russian government severely filters information and restricts social media and news websites, it is difficult to discern the emotions of the Russian people. Russia has also made it unlawful for the media to provide any information or viewpoint that contradicts the government’s official position about the invasion, which is extremely political and factually false. Thus, numerous media organisations leave the nation or cease operations completely.
The United States, Germany, and several other countries have implemented severe economic penalties on Russia, including a boycott of Russian oil and wheat and excluding Russian banks from the banking network SWIFT.
Prices of gasoline, natural gas, wheat, and other items (especially those produced by Russia or Ukraine) have risen to all-time highs in many parts of the world due to supply chain limitations brought on by these sanctions and the crisis itself.
However, the ruble’s freefall is having the most severe effect on Russia’s economy, which is already suffering mightily. Several nations have imposed sanctions on Putin and other prominent Russian leaders and billionaires. China’s reluctance to denounce Russia’s conduct and lack of penalties are particularly notable.
Russia’s gas importers were ordered by Putin on March 25, 2022, to take only Russian rubles as payment. This was done to boost the value of Russia’s currency, which had been steadily declining. Several nations, particularly France and Germany, strongly disapproved of the plan.
Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe was suspended after the country’s first invasion of Ukraine, and on March 15, 2022, Russia officially stated that it was resigning from the organisation. As an alternative, on March 15, 2022, the other 47 nations in the council took action to kick Russia out.
Russia also said it would sanction numerous high-ranking American officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and others. Psaki joked that the U.S. officials had no upcoming vacations in Russia and no financial accounts in Russia that they would be unable to access because of the sanctions, suggesting that the measures were mostly symbolic. Russia lodged a formal complaint against U.S. arms sales to Ukraine on April 15, 2022.
As of March 17 2022, peace discussions between Russia and Ukraine proceeded, with Russia’s request that Ukraine not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization being a central topic (NATO). Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the country might opt to stay neutral and abandon aspirations to join NATO on March 27, 2022.
However, demilitarisation and “denazification,” which many analysts believe Putin is using as a reason to invade, would not be on the table, Zelensky said. However, negotiations continued, and on March 29, 2022, Russia announced that it would reduce the intensity of its strikes on the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv (the capital) and Chernihiv, located in the country’s north.
The U.N. General Assembly agreed to exclude Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council on April 4, 2022. However, Russia continued its membership in the United Nations Security Council despite criticism from several world leaders, notably Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said that Russia’s presence undermined the U.N.’s authority.
Russia’s plans to seize control of southeast Ukraine were made public on April 22, 2022. Russia already seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014; thus, annexing this area will create a land bridge between the two.
Countries currently at war (as of September 2021):
Category: 10,000+ casualties in 2020/2021
Type: Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency
Fighting in Afghanistan has flared and subsided many times since the conflict began in 1978. Beginning in 2001, the most recent phase has mostly included U.S. and U.N. forces and partnered Afghan soldiers battling Taliban rebels. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) reports 30,936 verified deaths in armed conflicts worldwide in 2020.
Although the United States and the United Nations planned to leave Afghanistan in 2021, the fight between the Taliban and other groups, such as ISIL-K, which struck the airport in Kabul during U.S. evacuations, is anticipated to continue.
Ethiopia [also involved: Eritrea]
Type: Civil War
In November 2020, Ethiopia descended into a horrific civil war as tensions between rival political groups broke. Northern Ethiopia’s neighbour Eritrea has also sent soldiers to the fighting. Due to the conflict, there have been minor clashes in neighbouring countries like Sudan and Somalia. The conflict dubbed the “Tigray War” for the area where it broke out, claimed the lives of at least 9,000 people by September 2021. However, other estimates put that number far higher. According to reports, war crimes are rather regular.
Also See: Countries by Sex Ratio 2022
Type: Drug War
There are several strong and ruthless drug trafficking gangs in Mexico, and the Mexican government is always at war with them. Between January 2006 and May 2021, it is predicted that at least 350,000 people have been killed as a direct result of the war on drugs, with over 72,000 persons still missing.
Yemen [also involved: Saudi Arabia]
Type: Civil War
It was in September of 2014 that the Houthi armed movement, opposed to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi’s administration, seized control of Sanaa, the capital city and seat of the incumbent government. Each side asserts that they represent the legitimate government of Yemen.
In early 2015, Saudi Arabia led a coalition of Asian and African nations in an intervention in support of Hadi, with the United States providing information and logistical assistance. More than 140,000 people have been killed in this conflict so far, according to ACLED, with roughly 20,000 of the deaths occurring in 2020 alone.
Category: 1,000 to 10,000 casualties in 2020/2021
|Country||Type of Conflict|
|Burkina Faso||Terrorist insurgency|
|Colombia||Drug war & civil war|
|DR Congo||Terrorist insurgency|
|Iraq||Terrorist insurgency & political unrest|
|Libya||Civil war & terrorist insurgency|
|Mali||Civil war & terrorist insurgency|
|South Sudan||Ethnic violence|
|Country||Type||Countries Currently At War 2022|
|Afghanistan||Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency||10001|
|Burkina Faso||Terrorist Insurgency||5000|
|Colombia||Civil War/Drug War||5000|
|DR Congo||Terrorist Insurgency||5000|
|Iraq||Terrorist Insurgency/Political Unrest||5000|
|Mali||Civil War/Terrorist Insurgency||5000|
|South Sudan||Ethnic Violence||5000|